How to go on a Field Trip!

It’s the day that every student waits for: field trip day.

Little do they know, however, that teachers also await such days with great anticipation. Nothing could be more pleasing than being outside, learning something that isn’t your standard faire.

This explains my excitement when my coteacher, Ellen, told me a few weeks ago that we would be going on a field trip to the Yilan Green Expo with the first graders the next week. Anxiously anticipating this date, I really had no idea what to expect. Would we be charged with chaperoning certain groups? Would I be able to see the whole expo? Would it be big or small? What would the weather be like? None of these thoughts were unfounded, it turns out, because up until we got there, I really had no idea of any of the answers.

Tuesday came, and I packed myself up a lunch in my little green bento and tied it into a plastic bag. I have bad luck when it comes to..well…a lot of things, so I wanted to make sure the balsamic vinegar didn’t get everywhere. I took my normal 40 minute bus ride to school, nodding off as usual, and nothing seemed different until 9:00 rolled around and the  tour busses rolled into the driveway of the school.

First graders getting ready to board the bus

Ellen hastily handed me a hand made identification card (sadly, we don’t wear them at our school) and we raced out to join the first graders.

Don’t laugh, I know it’s a wretched picture that looks nothing like me.

It turns out that the sixth graders were also taking their trip this day, and as we boarded our pink bus, they boarded another. 

Did you ever see such a bus?

Inside, the bus reminded me of my first trip to Taiwan and our trip up the mountain in a tour bus much like this one with its plush seats and frilly curtains that made it look more like a gypsy caravan than a big bus.

Note the curtains

Riding a bus with first graders brings to mind what sort of environment? I bet you’d expect screaming and scampering about but these were surprisingly well behaved.


I sat with this Cutie

We said ‘bye-bye’ to the school and we were off to Su’Ao.

Bye-bye Kai Xuan!

Passing countrysides so green I almost wanted to put on my sunglasses, the teacher passed out fish flavored snack crackers to everyone riding the bus. I tucked mine into my bag, mentally noting to give them to our Soldier boy, Tony. 

Graveyard, Taiwan style

Green and growing gardens

The entrance to the Expo was through a huge gardening basket complete with tools. How’s that for interesting!

Excuse Tony’s face, he got in the way.

I was surprised to find that there were no discipline, safety or precautionary procedures or rules in place. Or rather, none that I could pick out from what I could understand. Already wearing their purple and gold school uniforms, our students did not need matching hats or tshirts, but other than there, there was no supervision that I could see. I was surprised not to be assigned to a group of kids and given the whistle and a clip board I had grown used to during my time as a summer camp counselor a few summers ago. Grasping at these loose ends, we entered the park. 

Presentation hall and surrounding garden

First off we all headed to the presentation hall for a show before exploring. I usually skip out on shows like this, finding it much more relaxing to explore exhibitions and parks on my own time, but as I was still unsure of what my role for the day was, I tagged along.

What it ended up begin was considerably frightening; sincerely the stuff of nightmares.

giant costumes with large lips.

I did my best to look away, but eventually had to get up and leave. I dragged Tony with me, although I suspect he was also glad to quit the scene. 

Tiny cuties!

We walked around a bunch, up to the top of the sprawling Expo and back down again, ending at some picnic tables for lunch. I’ll give you some pictures first, then explain the unfortunate happenstance of leaking balsamic vinegar.

the exterior of some building

recycled autos

The green space around the Expo was phenomenal. I was jealous of all the gardens. When I get to New York City, I’m going to see how I can get involved with a CSA- you never who who you’ll meet while on your hands and knees weeding onions 🙂

We ran into some 6th graders and I made them pose for a photo.

I pretended not to know them, and made them laugh by saying, ‘Oh hello, I am the English teacher from Kai Xuan. How are you?’ 

Giant nature book and camera

Scattered with students from any number of schools, the Expo was brightly colored and vibrant.

children playing under Yilan’s famous green onions!

If I had this in my back yard, I’d sit beneath it in a nice chair and read for hours.

This little stream ran the length of the Expo

Aways up the path, we passed some expo tents and checked out some of the local fare inside. Each section of the park was modeled after a section of the Aboriginal tribes, although I couldn’t read the map or brochure so can’t tell you any more.

Wooden bugs in the trees!

One tend had a machine that made extruded brown rice sticks. Into a slot at the top you put the brown rice, and turned a crank, and ba-boom- rice sticks!

Tony with our rice sticks

I bought a bag for NT 50 (which is about USD 1.50) and happily crunched my way through last week….eventually getting to the bottom of the bag all too soon.

Beautiful gardens abound

Here I’ll leave you, and tomorrow I’ll post about the rest of the Expo.

Don’t you just love Field trips? Comment and let me know which field trip sticks out most in your mind? What kind of security for the kiddies do you think is essential?

Love, Hannah


One Grecian Urn….

Does anyone know “The Music Man”?

If you do, you’ll know the scene this references. I couldn’t help but think of this when recently I was in the British Museum with a friend. He took so long to look at the artifacts that we only got through three galleries!

After looking up at the sky, I retreated inside the museum gates to find my friend. I actually rang him, only to glance upon him, phone to ear, not ten feet away from me. Silly, these cellular devices.

The bluest sky

We stopped in the entrance hall/centre to look at this display. Obviously embossed with some sort of Qur’anic script, this was an external element of the exhibit I want to see about the Hajj- which also costs £12.


It didn’t take me long to realise that my friend was going to look at Every.Single.Thing.
“D….you’re going to look at everything, aren’t you?” I said, tentitively from behind his shoulder.
“Yes!” he replied, enthusiastic, although completely absorbed in reading the caption on an urn that looked exactly like the one next to it.
Don’t get me wrong- I love museums, but I like to read the captions on what calls to me that day, so I can always go back and discover something new.

This is how my comic caption idea was born. If I was going to spend three hours in three galleries, I was going to amuse myself, dammit!

Captions occur directly under the pictures. Enjoy.

I don't want to be a chicken, I don't want to be a duck

I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my trousers. DAMN I'm fine.

You can see my face in the reflection. Don’t I look amused…

Return to sender

Some of the captions came right to me. I took pictures of all those.

How low can you go?

Come to think of it, perhaps I took too many pictures of urns? They’re not all Grecian either.

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is fairest of them all?

Some of these are downright humorous.

This'll show him....

Oh look, there’s D, being a good history major.

Reading every word.

I love the sea life on this thing….I forget what it is though.

A plate of fish?

Have you seen my pitcher? I was sure I'd put it somewhere. Oh, you too?

As an avid owl lover and collector, I’m always looking for owl things everywhere. Where better to find them than in the ancient world?

Owl childs toy- WHOO WHOO

I was obviously at this the entire time I was there.

If you like it, should'a put a ring on it!

The ancients had some pretty nice accessories going on as well.

Waist belt?

and sweet details.

Look at the little flowers.

Do you hear what I hear?

Harry Potter references?


And they were quite advanced. I marveled at the sense of perspective in this painting for quite awhile. I admittedly know nothing about painting technique, but this is certainly not flat. 


Grammy's Chinese ring!

I have a ring just like the above that my Grammy bought from a peddler during her childhood in China (Family: correct me if this is wrong)


Petrified food? Volcanic!

I saw this and just had to take a picture. Imagine if it were plush!

Giant Scarab Beetle

The last thing I saw might have been my favourite.

Oh wait, she's real!

A child who wears costumes in public? After my own heart. I did that at her age.

Fresh air.

Back outside again, I took another picture of the sky and some beautiful trees. I think I’m in love. When I get a nice camera, I’m going to take a proper photography class and learn how to take nature photos with contrast and perspective.

Coming soon: Wanderings and some City Rules,

Love, Hannah

Oh and PS: This is what Snape would sound like reading Keats.